Mad as Hell
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    Mad as Hell

    I had a mower deck belt come undone on my X354 at 12-15 hours. My dealer jumped on it and got it done in three days. Now today at 20 hours it happened again. The belt is in pieces. I did not hit anything or do anything I can tell. Why would this happen again and why is the belt in pieces? I sure hope they can fix it as fast as last time because the grass is getting deep again. I cut at 3.75 inches so there is not much room for days going by with out cutting. I am haunted by the ghost of my LT155. I never had this problem on that tractor in 20 years. Any idea what would do this. I have the mulch attachment dealer installed. Help!!
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    John Deere X354 with All Wheel Steering 2017

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    Belts

    Unless you got a defective belt, which is pretty unlikely since it happened twice I would say look for one or more of the following:

    Pulleys misaligned and the belt isn't tracking straight

    Bad bearing on a spindle or tightener pulley

    Belt rubbing against a bolt or other sharp object

    Rough spot on pulley/ bad weld etc. on pulley

    Debris hung up and flipping a belt off the pulley which is then mangled.

    I'm sure there are other reasons but those come to mind first. Don't discount the debris issue- it doesn't take much of a stick to flip a belt off.

    Treefarmer
    John Deere 790, 300 loader w Ken's Bolt on Hooks & Piranha tooth bar, grapple, back blade, box blade, Bush Hog mower, couple of red tractors, hay equipment, various old stuff some red, one orange, some I don't remember

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    Thank You

    Thank you for your help. I will have all these things checked. I do not hit anything. I was just mowing my lawn and did not see any sticks. I look close for objects after it happened last time. It is really weird that two belts went in 5 hours of use don't you think? And totally in pieces.
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    John Deere X354 with All Wheel Steering 2017

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    Probably not a stick

    Quote Originally Posted by Toolfriend View Post
    Thank you for your help. I will have all these things checked. I do not hit anything. I was just mowing my lawn and did not see any sticks. I look close for objects after it happened last time. It is really weird that two belts went in 5 hours of use don't you think? And totally in pieces.
    It's probably not a stick but I had to throw it in as a possibility. If I was guessing out of the list it would be a misalignment or a rough pulley. A little nick in a pulley will take a belt out in a hurry. You can look at a pulley and it will be fine, run your hand over it and start bleeding because it had a sharp shard. (I'm not recommending you risk your hand, if you check take an old T shirt or soft close and rub it around the pulley. If it's rough, it will snag.)

    Other possibilities?- possibly the deck had a wrong size pulley or tightener installed, wrong size belt etc. The dealer should have checked all that stuff the first time but in a rush may have just slapped a new belt on and leter go.

    Treefarmer
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    You are cutting your grass pretty high @3.5". That is only 1/2" from transport level. How much length are you chopping off every time you mow? Also how thick is the grass? Lastly how fast are you mowing/moving? How sharp are the blades? These 4 factors along with deck size will dictate how much load/stress is put on the belt drive. It's always possible to overload any type of drive system.
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    2 belts in 20 hours?

    I would also check for free movement or misalignment of the spring loaded idler pulley. If it's not tensioned properely it can "bounce" on the belt allowing it to come off. Also a loose pulley arm pivot can cause the same problem.

    What would I do with this new machine? I'd hand it to the dealer and tell him you don't want it back until he can guarantee they found the problem and it's "really repaired"... AND, have him GIVE you a spare deck belt for your annoying troubles.
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    Well, the tractor came back from the dealer last week and they replaced an idler wheel. Mowed once and all is fine. Mowed yesterday and it started smelling like something burning. When I engaged the deck it screams for 10 seconds. Called the dealer and they are coming for it again today. Maybe the third time is the cure. I can only hope.

    The last comment suggested I was cutting the grass too high at 3.75". I don't get that as being a problem. Yes, I have nice fertile grass but I do not let it get too long. I would think that is well within the capabilities of a $3,700 tractor.
    John Deere X354 with All Wheel Steering 2017

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    Quote Originally Posted by H-D dealer dude View Post
    You are cutting your grass pretty high @3.5". That is only 1/2" from transport level. How much length are you chopping off every time you mow? Also how thick is the grass? Lastly how fast are you mowing/moving? How sharp are the blades? These 4 factors along with deck size will dictate how much load/stress is put on the belt drive. It's always possible to overload any type of drive system.
    I cut at 3.75" in fertilized grass. I do not let it get too long. Maybe 4 inches as recommended by my lawn treatment guy. I mow at speeds at the low range of the indicator recommended speeds. I cannot believe this is above the capabilities of a $3,800 tractor. Thank you for responding. I would think the dealer would know what to do.

    Best,
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    Here is my thought. The reasoning about cutting at too high of a HOC isn't that the lawn mower isn't capable of traveling across a yard with grass that is 4" deep but rather a matter of angles. When the deck is raised to a high level the drive belt and pulleys may not be in line very well. This could put additional stress on the belts. These belt systems work better when things are relatively in line. On my X585 it wouldn't really matter much because it is shaft drive from the tractor to a gear box on the mower deck. Then coming off the gear box on the mower deck is a drive belt. Then compare that to my ZTrak which is a commercial mower and that is all belt drive but it is rated to cut from 1"-5.5". H-D Dealer Dude mentioned you are only 1/2" from transport level. I don't know what your cutting range is but it isn't likely that it is as much as a commercial mower.

    I guess I would ask the dealer what the recommended Height of Cut (HOC) range is for this machine. I tried to look it up on JD's website for you but the specs just took me over to a general info PDF with not enough info. For what it is worth, I cut at 3.25". However that doesn't mean much. There are lots of varieties of grass out there in different parts of the country. I would consider a X3xx machine heck even up to the X7xx machines to be residential which are more designed for typical HOC found in suburbia. For the most part I think people do closer to 3" than 4" for their setting. At least around here with the grass type that we have. The X7xx is more like my X585 in that it is a shaft drive deck so it would do better at cutting at those extreme limits. Again, I don't know that it is an issue with how much of a load unless you are cutting to 3.75" when the grass is 6" long but you stated this isn't the case. I would consider that a better job of a much bigger machine with a brush hog though.


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    Quote Originally Posted by sennister View Post
    Here is my thought. The reasoning about cutting at too high of a HOC isn't that the lawn mower isn't capable of traveling across a yard with grass that is 4" deep but rather a matter of angles. When the deck is raised to a high level the drive belt and pulleys may not be in line very well. This could put additional stress on the belts. These belt systems work better when things are relatively in line. On my X585 it wouldn't really matter much because it is shaft drive from the tractor to a gear box on the mower deck. Then coming off the gear box on the mower deck is a drive belt. Then compare that to my ZTrak which is a commercial mower and that is all belt drive but it is rated to cut from 1"-5.5". H-D Dealer Dude mentioned you are only 1/2" from transport level. I don't know what your cutting range is but it isn't likely that it is as much as a commercial mower.

    I guess I would ask the dealer what the recommended Height of Cut (HOC) range is for this machine. I tried to look it up on JD's website for you but the specs just took me over to a general info PDF with not enough info. For what it is worth, I cut at 3.25". However that doesn't mean much. There are lots of varieties of grass out there in different parts of the country. I would consider a X3xx machine heck even up to the X7xx machines to be residential which are more designed for typical HOC found in suburbia. For the most part I think people do closer to 3" than 4" for their setting. At least around here with the grass type that we have. The X7xx is more like my X585 in that it is a shaft drive deck so it would do better at cutting at those extreme limits. Again, I don't know that it is an issue with how much of a load unless you are cutting to 3.75" when the grass is 6" long but you stated this isn't the case. I would consider that a better job of a much bigger machine with a brush hog though.
    Checking the deck drive belt alignment at the cutting height you are using sounds like a good idea. However you would think that the deck should work correctly at any height.
    HydroHarold likes this.
    2014 X540 with HDAP tires, 54" deck, brush guard, arm rests and cargo bag.
    JD 48" plow with angle from seat kit & heavy duty skid shoes.
    4 suitcase weights and chains.
    JD tow behind spreader.
    JD 42" lawn sweeper.
    JD 10P cart.
    JD JS61 RWD walk behind mower.
    Stihl KM110 power head with pole saw, shaft extension, power scythe, curved shaft edger, 2 straight shaft cutters (string & blade).
    Stihl MS180-CBE 16" saw.
    Stihl SH86C hand held blower vac.

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